VAMPIRES v. ALIENS—Not Your Standard Vampires, Not Your Standard Aliens

So far I’ve written nine chapters of Vampires versus Aliens.

The heroine of the story is a vampiress, Minnie Phelps. In 1891, when Minnie was nineteen years old and had a beautiful face, a vampiress named Lirmlaca put the chomp on Minnie. As Minnie was bleeding out, Lirmlaca gave Minnie two choices—

1) Die that night.

2) Drink her attacker’s blood, die that night, then come back as a vampire.

(Note that there was no Choice 3 of “I’ll stop sucking your blood, you heal, then you live a long life.”)

Minnie drank Lirmlaca’s blood, died, and came back as a vampire—a vampire who was ashamed of herself for being a coward. Minnie felt even more shame one month later, because by then she had killed five innocent people. But then an evil man dragged the newbie vampiress into an alley, and Minnie got a new mission in Unlife: To make the world a better place for humans by ridding the world of dangerous criminals.

When the aliens show up, with the intention of killing every human on Earth, Minnie expands her mission: To make the world a better place for humans by destroying the alien invaders.

So VvA is the story of how one vampiress, who has the face of a Paris runway model and who feels a burning need for atonement, recruits other vampires to fight against evil aliens.

 

But what kind of vampires are my vampires, and what kind of aliens are my aliens?

Neither of them are the standard, cliché version, for one simple reason: If cliché aliens invaded Earth and they were stomping human butt, there would be nothing that cliché vampires could do to save Earth.

 

You probably don’t realize it, but your views of aliens from other worlds have been heavily influenced by movies and television. Well, in both of those media, it’s much more expensive to film during the night than to film during the day. So when you’re in a movie theater and you see aliens battling Earthlings, usually it’s during the day. You as a moviegoer don’t even think about this; you figure Of course the battles will happen during the day, because that’s when everyone can see better!

Also, in Hollywood movies, the aliens are cute, with big black eyes.

My aliens are no way cute. Oh, they have giant eyes—but this is so that they can see infrared light (the light that hot objects give off). At night, even when all electrical lights are off, and cloud cover blocks light from the moon and stars, an alien can easily spot a human because, to the alien, the human glows.

The aliens also have on their faces, tiny eyes that are about the size of warts. With these eyes, the aliens can see ultraviolet light. This gives the aliens another advantage over humans at night: the aliens can light up some outdoor place with ultraviolet floodlights and be able to see just fine, but to humans, the place is still black dark.

Much more un-cute than this, my aliens have pointy ears on top of their heads like wolves and cats, my aliens have snouts and sharp teeth like wolves, and they have retractable claws like cats. They attack only at night; they don’t leave the spaceship during the day. My aliens would be scary enough at night if humans could see them coming—but the first thing that the aliens do in my novel is to knock out power generators everywhere in the world. Humans are in total darkness when the aliens attack them; my aliens are scary!

Earlier I mentioned that my aliens look a little like wolves. But they do not have the pack mentality of wolves; otherwise I would write my vampires fighting werewolves, instead of fighting aliens. My aliens hunt in packs, like wolves do, but my aliens don’t have the strict hierarchy of wolves. Oh, the aliens follow a leader; but the pack-leader position is a rotating one, among five or six aliens who are recognized as having exceptional leadership.

 

Facing off against my aliens are my version of vampires, who are led by Minnie Phelps. Now, it turns out that novelists and moviemakers agree on only a few things about fictional vampires: Vampires are animated corpses who walk at night, they have fangs, and they drink human blood. Beyond this, there is no consensus. In one part of Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula walked around in daylight; but the movie Nosferatu, the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and the novels of Anne Rice all had vampires destroyed when sunbeams hit them. In some movies, days pass between the time a vampire-victim dies and the time they rise as a vampire; but in The Fearless Vampire Killers and From Dusk Till Dawn, the lag time is only minutes. Some stories’ vampires can shapeshift into bats, some cannot; some stories’ vampires have hypnotic powers, some cannot. In some stories, a vampire’s craving for blood is fierce; but in other stories, a vampire can go weeks without feeding.

My vampires are like Dracula, in that they can walk around in daylight without harm. However, Dracula could shapeshift at sunrise, noon, and sunset, whereas my vampires have no special powers at all during daytime. (In this, my vampires under a yellow sun are like Superman under a red run.) Also, my vampires in daylight feel sluggish, just like humans do who walk around in daylight after staying up all night. One other quirky thing about my vampires: They do not reflect in silver-backed mirrors, and they are invisible when photographed by old-fashioned film cameras (which have silver salts in the film emulsion). However, modern mirrors (which are aluminum-backed) reflect a vampire’s image, and vampires can be photographed with digital cameras and smartphone cameras, which do not use silver to capture an image. My vampires can go a long time without feeding, but they pay a penalty when they do.

Male vampires in my universe have an incentive to feed that vampiresses do not: Male vampires can divert internal blood to their penises and so become erect at will—but only within six hours of feeding. After six hours, a male vampire is impotent, and not even blue pills can help!

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VAMPIRES v. ALIENS—Combining Incompatible Worlds

My new Work in Progress is Vampires v. Aliens, in which evil aliens show up, intending to not merely conquer Earth, but also to kill off every last Earthling. Even Earth’s mightiest armies cannot stop the Kyuljebbeks; Earth’s only hope is that Earth’s vampires can defeat the aliens. That is, if a) the vampires can be bothered to get into the fight; and b) the vampires as a whole can defeat the aliens. (Some of the Old Vampires simply can’t wrap their brains around fighting an enemy whose weapons include energy guns, drone bombers, and half-track robots. Attack with a sword or being shot at by musket balls is much more something that the Old Vampires understand.)

But to put vampires and space aliens in the same story, I have to somehow combine two mutually-incompatible universes.

In a science-fiction universe, of which space opera is a subset, the physical universe of the story is presumed to be the same as ours. If the aliens or future humans can do nifty things that present-day Earth people cannot, the presumption is that those characters know things about science and technology that we don’t, not that niftiness occurs because the characters’ world is different from ours.

The science-fiction writer might fudge his world a little, and say that in his story, somehow faster-than-light space travel is possible, or time travel is possible, or anti-gravity is possible. But the science-fiction writer does this sparingly, because every time he makes an exception to the rules of the real-life universe, the more that science-fiction purists feel that the author’s story is a cheat.

Admittedly, such purists are a minority. Star Trek is popular despite having faster-than-light space travel, time travel, and anti-gravity; not to mention that transporters and replicators violate the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Star Wars has faster-than-light space travel and anti-gravity; and “the Force” looks, smells, and tastes like magic.

On the other hand, in a magical universe it is not one or two impossible things happening in the story, but dozens or hundreds of impossible things happen. Oh, there might be costs in the story for performing a certain magical deed, or the story might place other limitations on the casting of certain spells; still, in a magical universe, big reptiles can fly and breath fire, someone can kill someone else by uttering two forbidden words, and the dead can be brought back to life all kinds of ways.

What this all means is that to have vampires and space aliens in the same fictional universe, I needed to either magickify my aliens, or else I needed to science-fiction-ize my vampires.

I tried imagining wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, and witches on an alien planet, and alien vampires. The trouble was, I could imagine those beings, but I could not make them much more than ideas—my imagined alien vampires did not grab my imagination the way that the Brides of Dracula have. Alien vampires didn’t scare me, so how could I possibly write them to scare you?

So what I did instead was to SciFi-ize my vampires.

This has sort-of been done before. In “I Am Legend,” a blood-borne virus seemingly kills vampire-bitten humans, who then come back from their deathlike state as (seeming) vampires. However, the “vampires” of “I Am Legend” are not vampires as Dracula uses the term; the blood-craving creatures of “I Am Legend” cannot shapeshift into mist or into bats.

But me, I’m greedy. I want my vampires to turn into mist, turn into bats, have the strength of twenty, and not reflect in silver mirrors—you know, the whole nine yards of native earth.

After thinking awhile, I came up with a backstory for vampires that “explains” them in a science-fiction manner. Here it is, below.

What I am posting will appear at the end of Vampires v. Aliens.

 

Appendix 1
A Meteor Collision Made a Magical Planet

Four and a half billion years ago, Earth was a slowly-spinning ball of molten elements. Some of the elements were metallic, some were not.

But if Baby Earth was a planet very different in many ways from Earth nowadays, it was the same in one respect: Baby Earth’s gravitational pull was almost exactly the same as Earth’s gravity nowadays.

In particular, Baby Earth’s gravity grabbed a space-drifting meteor of pure Alchemium, a meteor that was gigagrams in mass, and pulled that meteor toward Earth’s center. Eventually the meteor punched through Baby Earth’s paper-thin crust as it moved downward; then all the hot, liquid goo that wrapped around the Alchemium meteor made the Alchemium meteor become molten too.

This is when the history of our planet changed.

In the presence of Alchemium, lead decays, becoming gold of equivalent mass; but also as the lead decays, the lead gives off magikons. Four and a half billion years ago, since everything was molten, the molten Alchemium bumped up against lots and lots of molten lead, and so many magikons were released.

(Why is there still lead on planet Earth? Because in the presence of magikons, Alchemium transmutes to Nihonium of equivalent mass, releasing still more magikons in the process. Once the gigagrams of Alchemium all became gigagrams of Nihonium, the Nihonium radioactively decayed with shocking speed—ten minutes later, every last gram of Nihonium had become atoms of other elements with lower atomic number. In any case, while no-longer-present Alchemium could turn lead into gold, neither Nihonium nor its decay-daughters could, so the transmutation of lead into gold stopped.)

Magikons are immaterial, and so can pass through solid rock without slowing down or their direction being changed. Magikons are not slowed by friction. Magikons have no mass; still, magikons are subject to the pull of gravity for magical reasons. Magikons, since they were first released inside Earth 4.5 billion years ago, have traveled in every direction away from Earth’s center.

What does this mean from the point of view of someone standing on Earth’s surface? Magikons are continually shooting up out of the ground, anyplace and everyplace, then the magikons slow down as they move up as high as the mesosphere, then they fall down to (and through) the ground.

The result now of a giant meteor of pure Alchemium colliding with molten Baby Earth, 4.5 billion years ago, is that nowadays, Earth is at least 15,273.6 times as magical as any other planet in eight galaxies.

Strange spoken texts, on other planets, on Earth are spells that make things magically happen. Magic potions on Earth are merely strange-tasting beverages on every other planet. And Earth has (or used to have) strange creatures that are unthinkable on any other planet.

One example of a creature that is known on Earth, but impossible elsewhere in the universe? Pegasus, the winged horse.

Another Earth creature that cannot exist on any other planet, and so is unknown on every other planet: vampires.

****

For those who care about such things: Alchemium and Unobtainium are very near to each other on the Periodic Table.

An Amazon Author Writes Fan Fiction

Background

Fan fiction (definition): fiction written by a fan of a popular fictional work (novel, movie, TV show, or comic book), to be read by other fans of the popular work.

I don’t know when fan fiction was “invented.” But fan fiction’s modern form began on or before 1966, when “Star Trek” came on the air. Some fans of “Star Trek” wrote stories that they mimeographed, which other fans could obtain by mailing the author a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope). The fan-fiction terms slash, femslash, and Mary Sue date from Star Trek fan fiction.

But fan fiction stayed small and niche, so long as the only way to distribute fan fiction was by mimeograph machines and SASEs. However, the internet, beginning in the 1990s, turned both the writing of fan fiction, and the reading of fan fiction, into worldwide phenomena. In the case of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in the late Nineties, several sites popped up just for BtVS fanfic—each site specializing in everything from family-friendly stories to fully pornographic stories—and both the authors and the commenters posted in real time from Australia/New Zealand, Great Britain, and Canada/USA.

I did not know this at the time, while I was reading BtVS fanfic at dedicated sites, but a new site, fanfiction.net (FFN), came online in 1998. FFN allowed the posting of fan fiction from any copyrighted work—from movies, TV shows, books, or comic books—and allowed crossover stories (stories where characters from two different fiction-universes interact). FFN allowing crossovers was considered daring: Sites that were dedicated to fanfic of a particular copyrighted work, usually banned crossover stories for legal reasons.

A few years after 1998, FFN instituted a “No porn, we mean it!” policy. In order to cater to those who wanted to write stories in which Samantha Stevens and Major Tony Nelson’s genie had wild lesbian sex, a new site started up in 2008: archiveofourown.org (AO3). Besides allowing pornographic fanfic, AO3 also allowed interactive commenting on posted chapters, allowed giving “Kudos” on a story (like a “Like,” with no written comments necessary), and allowed for stories to be downloaded so they could be read offline later.

Fan Fiction and the Legalities

Fan fiction is technically copyright infringement, which is illegal. As such, a copyright holder is within his/her/its legal rights to flat-out ban all fan fiction of his/her/its works.

According to FFN (at https://www.fanfiction.net/guidelines/), these authors have banned fan fiction:
• Anne Rice
• Archie comics
• Dennis L. McKiernan
• Irene Radford
• J.R. Ward
• Laurell K. Hamilton
• Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb
• P.N. Elrod
• Raymond Feist
• Robin Hobb
• Robin McKinley
• Terry Goodkind

But while fan fiction is technically illegal, no copyright holders except for those listed above, try to suppress fan fiction. Why? Because to take someone to court for copyright infringement and win, the judge and jury must consider four factors, one of which is money. How much money did the copyright holder lose (or fail to earn) because of the infringement? By this standard, a man selling bootleg DVDs in Times Square is guilty of copyright infringement, but a fan-fiction story (which is always free to read) is never infringing.

I’m not aware of any statute that says “Writing a fan-fiction story, even for free, is illegal”; neither am I aware of any author of a free fan-fiction story being sued for copyright infringement.

The fact that fan fiction is legal for all practical purposes has three benefits, two of which are obvious. Because fan-fiction “infringements” never go to court, fan-fiction authors never go to jail and they are never bankrupted by court judgments. The third benefit is that a fan-fiction crossover story can be better written than an all-done-legally crossover story.

Imagine a story of Batman (a DC Comics character) and Black Widow (a Marvel Comics character) teaming up to fight bad guys. They’re both self-made heroes with something to prove, so the story-idea seems like a logical pairing. But before this story could even start to become a comic book, DC lawyers and Marvel lawyers would need to thrash out “Who writes it? Who draws it? Who letters it? Who prints it? What’s the money-split?” Only after these negotiations were successfully completed could the creatives be hired. Then once the writer started writing, he would have two sets of lawyers breathing down his neck, each team saying, “Don’t give less time ‘on stage’ to my company’s character than you give to the other character.” Similarly, the artist would be double-nagged not to draw Batman bigger than Black Widow, and vice versa. Probably what the author and the artist would eventually come up with, after the two teams of lawyers had shot down the creatives’ first 1,649 ideas, would be formulaic and not at all interesting. On the other hand, a skilled fan-fiction writer, who would be free from all creative restrictions, could cook up a Batman-Black Widow story that would turn DC writers and Marvel writers all green with envy.

Where I Come In

I started my publishing company, Hypo To Helio Books, in August 2011. I published three books, one of which was Sun Rising in the West: Does Japan Buy California?, in March 2012. By December 2017, I had published three of my own books, plus books by four other authors.

Then in December 2017, I got an idea for a Hunger Games fanfic to write. I decided to take time off writing paid fiction to write this story, my second fanfic ever. (I had already written a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fanfic, “Cordy’s Back!”, back in 2001 and had posted the story to a dedicated BtVS-fanfic site.)

The premise of my new AU (alternate-universe) Hunger Games story, “The Baker and the Healer,” was that sweet Prim would go into the 74th Hunger Games because Prim’s older sister Katniss did not volunteer when Prim was Reaped. I was not the first person to write a “Prim goes into the Games” AU, nor was I even the twentieth person to write such a story; in the prior stories, Katniss not-volunteered for Prim because Katniss was too old, or Katniss was pregnant, or volunteering was not allowed in District Twelve, etc. But my story had AFAIK a brand-new reason for Katniss’s not-volunteering: Katniss was at death’s door on Reaping Day because of blood poisoning. (Being at death’s door, according to canon, is the only excuse accepted for a Reaping-age child missing a Reaping.)

I am sure, once the chapters of “The Baker and the Healer” started to pile up, that I surprised readers.

For one thing, I wrote Prim as more than a two-dimensional goody-two-shoes; there were a few moments in the thirty-eight chapters when Prim saved the day, in a way that none of the other characters could. I also wrote Peeta as much more take-charge than in canon; I figured that Peeta would act very differently in the Games with Prim as his district partner than with Katniss as his district partner.

It was fun writing Katniss—once she was brought past her medical emergency—as the surly girl with the firm sense of values who now was not known as “the girl who volunteered for her sister” or “the Girl on Fire,” but as not much more than the sister of District Twelve’s female tribute. (However, even in my AU, Katniss was not merely a face in the crowd—both Prim and Peeta talked glowingly about Katniss in their Tribute Interviews, and so Prim and Peeta were collectively tagged as “the fans of Katniss,” and poor Katniss had to deal with sudden celebrity.)

Another thing unique to my story was that—I’ll skip explaining the logic—because Katniss was at death’s door on Reaping Day, Prim’s Reaping was universally suspected as being a punitive Reaping that had been arranged by Head Peacekeeper Cray. The fact that people in Twelve, people in other districts, and President Snow all suspected Cray of rigging Prim’s Reaping nudged the plot in the rest of the story.

Anyway, I started writing “The Baker and the Healer” in December 2017, and posting the story to FFN a chapter at a time. Beginning in January 2018, I also began posting chapters to AO3.

What I noticed immediately was the difference in feedback between selling ebooks and posting fanfic. After I upload ebooks to Amazon, I get feedback (in the form of reviews of the finished ebook) only when the reader is really, really motivated to give feedback—Amazon makes the process not be easy. On the other hand, FFN allows a reader who has read to the end of a chapter to leave feedback on that chapter without needing to hunt around (unlike Amazon). AO3 takes the feedback-process further than FFN does; AO3 allows a chapter-reader to leave feedback that can be commented-on by the author or by other readers—which encourages more people to give feedback.

It’s no surprise that I love getting feedback that says “You wrote a great chapter.” But I also figured out quickly that sometimes, some part of a chapter that I thought was clear to readers, was not at all clear to them. Lucky for me, since both FFN and AO3 allow already-posted chapters to be revised, I was able to rewrite the confusing passage in the chapter with only a little hassle. (Compare this with Amazon, where feedback is the exception not the rule, so the only way I might know that a book has a problem is if someone leaves a scathing one-star review titled, “Hey blockhead, fix your awful writing!”

But there is one benefit to all this feedback that a fan-fiction author gets: It can be used as a general teaching aid about writing. Both FFN and AO3 give link-backs to the people who comment on my chapters, so that I can see what fanfic the commenters themselves have written (if the commenters have written fanfic of their own; however, most commenters are not fanfic writers). If a commenter on one of my chapters has herself written fanfic, with just a few clicks, I can start reading her stories. What this means is that if someone were to comment on one of my chapters The chapter is okay, but it could be so much better if you did such-and so, I would know how much value to give to the commenter’s advice.

Now, I’ve learned the basics of writing fiction, so I don’t get “Here’s how you should have written this chapter” comments too often. But if I were just starting out at writing fiction, as many fan-fiction writers are, such advice from commenters would be worth more than gold.

Why do I say this last part? Harken to my tale of woe—

I started to write my first novel, Sun Rising in the West: Does Japan Buy California? in January of 1993, and I began to submit sample chapters to agents and publishers in February of 1994. The experience was a nightmare. I would send out my chapters and cover letter—then I would wait months for a reply (if I even got a reply at all). The reply from New York City was always a form letter that gave no hint of why my novel had been rejected. Eventually, I became so desperate for answers to “What am I doing wrong?” that I wound up paying “book doctors.” The first “expert” that I paid thousands of dollars to was Edit Ink (sic), who eventually was sued by the New York State Attorney General for fraud. The other expert-who-wasn’t whom I paid money to, was a guy in California named Victor West. Several years after I did business with Victor West, he wound up on several lists of “Writers, don’t do business with these people.”

Yes, I feel stupid telling you that I got suckered not once but twice, paying thousands of dollars that I could not afford to spend (I even wound up borrowing money from my father).

My point is, here’s the great thing about writing fan fiction: Strangers who would never agree to read a first-time author’s Great American Novel might eagerly read his Avengers fanfic, and a few of those strangers might choose to give the newbie some writing advice, and might know what they’re talking about. Which would mean, in turn, that when this writer later wanted to make the switch from writing Avengers fan fiction to writing commercial fiction, by then the writer would have been tutored how to write. And if desperate newbie writers never again get conned out of thousands of dollars by “book doctors,” the world will be, in one little way, a better place.

Anyway, to complete my experiences with fan fiction: A few months after finishing “The Baker and the Healer,” I started a new fanfic, “Katniss and Coriolanus: Soulmates.” It was another AU; its premise was about how President Snow decided to name Katniss as his successor as president of Panem, and what happened to Katniss after Snow made this announcement. (Spoiler alert: Katniss’s life became very challenging. For one thing, since the Rebellion had been made unnecessary, Alma Coin was pissed.)

What surprised me as I was writing the story was that originally I had intended the “soulmates” thing to be merely a plot gimmick, the thing that would move Snow into declaring Katniss to be his successor. But Katniss and Snow being soulmates wound up really changing Snow’s character, so that by the time he died, his and Katniss’s implacable emnity had evolved into a mentor-protégé relationship.

My Three Fan-Fiction stories

(For descriptions of my for-sale books, go here.)

Cordy’s Back!
FFN link
AO3 link

Cordelia Chase/Xander Harris, Xander Harris/Anya Jenkins, Xander Harris/Willow Rosenberg, Tara Maclay/Willow Rosenberg, Cordelia Chase, Xander Harris, Anya Jenkins, Willow Rosenberg, Tara Maclay, Harmony Kendall, Angel (BtVS), Humorous/Crack

PREVIOUSLY ON “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER”: In the third season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Scooby Gang charter member Xander started a hot romance with Cordelia, the sexiest and most popular girl at Sunnydale High School. In the beginning of the show’s fourth season, Cordelia had moved to L.A. to become an actress, and Xander was seduced by Anya, an ex-demon who was hot for Xander’s body. But Anya, back in her demon days, granted the vengeance wishes of scorned women against their unfaithful men.

Fourth season “BtVS,” first season “Angel”: How will Anya act if Xander is seriously tempted to stray with former girlfriend Cordelia Chase? How will Cordelia act if she discovers that Xander has grown up, both emotionally and physically? And how will Xander act if two women want him?

The Baker and the Healer
FFN link
AO3 link

Graphic Depictions Of Violence, Haymitch Abernathy/Effie Trinket, Primrose Everdeen & Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen/Peeta Mellark, Primrose Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne, Madge Undersee, Haymitch Abernathy, Effie Trinket, Seneca Crane, Coriolanus Snow, Marvel (Hunger Games), Glimmer (Hunger Games), Cato (Hunger Games), Clove (Hunger Games), Foxface (Hunger Games), District 4 Female Tribute, Rue (Hunger Games), Thresh (Hunger Games), Darius (Hunger Games), Mrs. Everdeen, Cray (Hunger Games), mine-company doctor (Hunger Games), Katniss’s grandparents, Mrs. Everdeen’s parents, Coriolanus Snow’s Granddaughter, Lavinia (Hunger Games), Chaff (Hunger Games), Johanna Mason, Beetee Latier, Wiress (Hunger Games), Finnick Odair, Lyme (Hunger Games), Mags (Hunger Games), Cinna (Hunger Games), Cashmere (Hunger Games), Gloss (Hunger Games), Plutarch Heavensbee, Alma Coin, Female Morphling (Hunger Games), Boggs (Hunger Games), Jackson (Hunger Games), Leeg 1 (Hunger Games), Leeg 2 (Hunger Games), Alternate Universe – Canon Divergence

AU in which Primrose Everdeen goes into the 74th Hunger Games because Katniss Everdeen is too sick to attend the Reaping. The story will sometimes not play out like you expect. Eventual ’ships will be Katniss/Peeta, Haymitch/Effie, and (a little bit of) Gale/Madge.

Katniss and Coriolanus: Soulmates
FFN link
AO3 link

Katniss Everdeen/Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen & Coriolanus Snow, Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Coriolanus Snow, Haymitch Abernathy, Effie Trinket, Plutarch Heavensbee, Cinna (Hunger Games), Coriolanus Snow’s Granddaughter, Lavinia (Hunger Games), Boggs (Hunger Games), Leeg 1 (Hunger Games), Leeg 2 (Hunger Games), Johanna Mason, Alma Coin, Gloss (Hunger Games), Cashmere (Hunger Games), Cecilia (Hunger Games), Finnick Odair, Alternate Universe – Canon Divergence, Alternate Universe – Soulmates, Soulmates, Soulmate-Identifying Marks, Antagonistic Soulmates

President Coriolanus Snow got his soulmark—words written on the inside of his left forearm, in dark green—when he was sixty-two. He figured out quickly that his soulmate had to be much younger than he, and that she had to be District. This puzzled Coriolanus, because he merely tolerated people from Districts One and Two, and loathed everyone in the other eleven districts.

The first words that Katniss Everdeen ever learned to read were the white words, displaying perfect penmanship, that were written on the inside of her right lower leg. But Katniss reading for herself the soulmark-words only confused her more, because the words made no sense.

Be assured that there will be no sex, nor hints of sex, between 78-year-old Snow and 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen.

Some of you who are fans of Soulmates stories will be disappointed by this story. Katniss and Peeta are not soulmates here; whereas Katniss and Coriolanus are soulmates, but not the “regular” kind. The closest that K&C ever get to Love for the Ages will be a grudging mutual respect.

This Alternate-Universe story will be very alternate; I’m spiking the canon. (Katniss becomes president of Panem at age eighteen.)

My Own Experience with Foreigners in the USA: Vietnamese Boat People

boat people FF1067 August 9 1978

There is a lot of talk about the subject of foreigners coming to the USA by one means or another. My view of such people changed in 1978, when I actually met a bunch of such people. Let me quote from a letter I wrote to my father in 1978.

=====

[Additional comments added October 1997. Comments near the end were added January 2007.]

[Thursday,] 10 August 1978

Dear Dad,

Well, the USS Francis Hammond made pg. 1 of The New York Times—or at least pg. 10. We rescued, not one but two boatloads of Vietnamese refugees, and now have 77 “guests” aboard…

Seas were still rough when we got underway [from Subic Bay Naval Base, Philippines, headed for Pattaya Beach, Thailand] Monday morning, but got better by Wednesday…

Not much to write about Monday and Tuesday. We had a General Quarters drill Tuesday which came out pretty bad—we took too long getting the ship in battle readiness. That was just because it was a drill: twice this week the General Quarters alarm has been hit by accident, and everybody moved like greased lightning. (Especially the accidental alarm that came just a few hours after we’d rescued the first boatload—we were sure that Vietnam had found out about it and had come to engage us in battle!)

Anyway, the big event of the week was rescuing the refugees. Both times I was on watch (darn it!) [in the electrical switchboard room inside the ship] so I couldn’t see them [the refugees] when they were spotted, or when the captain [Commander James E. Auer] first talked to them. I did get to see the first boat with the people in it, before we brought them aboard. It was several hours between the time we confirmed they were Vietnamese refugees (the first boat, I mean) and when we finally took them on board. The captain was sensitive to the political, diplomatic, and military implications here, so he did nothing until he’d shot off some detailed radio messages and had gotten some replies back. Finally he got the word, and they were brought aboard.

[Writing here, I was misinformed or incorrectly assuming. Some time later at a Captain’s Call, I asked the captain what his orders had been, regarding the boat people. He said that he’d sent messages to the State Department, and had sent messages up the chain of command as far as Hawaii. The captain told me he’d gotten the same reply from everyone: “You’re at the scene, I’m not. Rescue them or don’t, at your discretion.”]

They were a pitiful sight to see, that first boatload. Thirty-seven people on a boat built for half that many, if that much. [The boat looked like a big canoe driven by an oatboard motor, with a very long shaft between the motor and the propeller.] They’d been out at sea for eight days, without food or water for the past 2-1/2. [They’d all been seasick for a long while. Up until that day I’d always thought of seasickness as a joke ailment, but these people were clearly weak.] They had no oars, and the motor on the boat had gotten a triple whammy from a storm at sea. They were scared s—less—scared of being discovered by the Vietnamese Navy (and consequently blown out of the water) and scared of dying at sea. And whatever horrors in Vietnam that had prompted them to take this near-suicidal risk, were there to be seen in their eyes. That haunted look of theirs, as much as their physical state, prompted me to think they looked more like zombies than like living people.

I’d read of another USN captain who’d found a refugee boat, had given the people there medical attention, food, and water—and then sent them on their way. Only thing was, that boat was seaworthy. (However, I think that captain was a coward and a disgrace.) Perhaps if this boat had been seaworthy, our captain would’ve done likewise. With the motor gone, it wasn’t, so as a “mission of mercy,” we took them on.

I’m told that one young woman [who was close to giving birth] collapsed on the deck as soon as she’d gotten up the ladder—she was too weak to walk! They [our people] kept them [the Vietnamese] on the fantail until they could get a place set up for them to stay—under guard. This was to keep us sailors from bothering them, but it was also in case one or two were Communist saboteur “plants.” But none of them tried anything—since they were out of danger, and now had at least a glimmer of hope for the future, they were content to sit quietly. Besides, in the condition they were in, if all 37 had attacked a single, unarmed sailor, the sailor would’ve won nonetheless!

It was decided that they would sleep where the helicopter detachment personnel were sleeping [in the compartment just below the fantail, which also contained the First Class Petty Officers’ lounge, the electrical safety shop, the electrical storage room where we kept the crew’s movies, and the rudder control room]…A portion of the ship was sealed off for their use, guards were placed there, and no one (at first) was allowed in at all except a few previously designated personnel. I was not one of them [even though I ran the electrical safety shop]. The area consisted of their sleeping quarters, a shower room, a bathroom, a battle dressing station (for emergency medical care)—and incidentally, the safety shop. So I couldn’t get to my tools, or the shop, so I couldn’t work much that day—didn’t bother me a bit.

(By Thursday, things were a little more lax—anyone having a “legitimate reason” to go back there, could—and since the safety shop is in the refugee zone, they saw quite a bit of me.)

Anyway, we got clean clothes for them. People donated them, and they also got clothes from the “Lucky Bag” (which contains articles of clothing confiscated by the Master At Arms from anyone unlucky enough to leave them improperly stowed.) One of the other two ships with us has a Commodore, and so rates a doctor and a chaplain, and these latter two officers were flown over to our ship. Our three corpsmen, plus that doctor, spent a good portion of the day examining the refugees. We fed them what the doctor advised they could stomach. They got a chance to shower. When they first came aboard they looked like death warmed over, but a few hours later they’d blossomed like roses. We found out that some of the children were cute as a bug’s ear!

Meanwhile, there was the junk [the broken boat]. [The Vietnamese] weren’t going to use it again, and it couldn’t be left there (it was a hazard to navigation.) So we had to sink it. Only trouble was, it wouldn’t sink. They [some crewmembers] poured diesel fuel from the junk’s fuel compartment all over the wood and set it afire. But then the waves washed over the side and put out the fire. Then they tried to restart the fire by firing a flare into it. The flare gun wouldn’t fire. When it finally did, the flare went everywhere but into the boat. Then they machine-gunned it. I don’t know what that was supposed to accomplish, but it didn’t sink the boat or get it on fire. Finally, somehow they got it burning. It burned and burned and burned, but it didn’t burn fast enough, and it was still floating. Finally, we decided to use our big gun on it. We got about a quarter-mile away from it. They fired ten shots at it without hitting it, although one got close. The eleventh was a clean hit, right in the middle. When the smoke had cleared, we went to take a look. There was nothing left but part of the keel, a small oil slick, and LOTS of sawdust!

(Thus that day we found out our captain had a great heart, and a lousy group of Gunner’s Mates.)

[In belated fairness to the GMs, I must mention that the boat had no metal except the outboard motor to reflect radar, and being partly flooded, the boat was so close to the waterline that it was hard to locate from a quarter-mile away.]

The ship was rife with rumors about our passengers. Some had us taking them to Thailand, as we were originally scheduled to go, but other rumors had us going to Guam, the Philippines, back to Japan, or Malaysia. The official word as of Wednesday night, (and unchanged as of Thursday night) was that they were going to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. No one knows (or at least, is telling) their fate from there.

They went to bed early, Wednesday night, being very exhausted by their eight-day ordeal.

I took the 8 p.m.-midnight [electrical switchboard] watch. At 10 p.m., we had “Taps.” After “Taps,” words are never passed over the P.A. system [until 6 a.m. Reveille] unless they have to be. At 10:17, the word was passed(!) “X.O. [Executive Officer, second in command], please contact the bridge.” A little later, the word was passed again(!) for another officer to contact the bridge. Eventually the incredible news came down: we’d found a second boat, with forty refugees, mostly women and children. I don’t know if they waved a white flag as we approached, as I’m told the first boat did. There was no real problem with the second boat. By about 1 or 2 a.m., they were found, brought aboard, given a place to sleep and clean clothes, and their boat sunk.

In contrast to Wednesday, when I only was allowed back in the safety shop once, on Thursday I was in and out, in and out of there all day (I managed to find plenty of excuses for “legitimate reasons” to go.) A few [Vietnamese] were still sick, but the rest were quite energetic, and happy as clams. If somewhat crowded, they had hope for the future, and were out of danger, they had clothing, food and shelter provided for them, free medical attention, and even free entertainment (even if the movies were in a foreign language). Thursday morning the XO even passed out some pens, envelopes, writing tablets, and USS Francis Hammond postcards, and told the refugees to write all they wanted, and the ship would assume the postage costs. I had known that one woman had an American husband in New York (and the papers to prove it) and that a man had a relative in Paris. Apparently, judging from the addresses I saw, a lot of Vietnamese in America (evacuators from S. Vietnam’s fall, and prior refugees) have managed to get their addresses in the U.S. communicated to their relatives in Communist-dominated Vietnam. [But some of the addresses that I saw were woefully incomplete: “Duc Tran, San Francisco.”]

They were given a little accord on Thursday. When they first came on, we had guys with flak jackets guarding all the entrances/exits of their place, in case either they or they crew had a disease the other group was not immune to, and in case one or two were N. Vietnamese infiltrators with hidden guns. The doctor and our corpsmen pretty much ruled out the first possibility, and as for the second, they were docile as lambs. (Only thing is, do they have lambs in Vietnam?) The guard force was downgraded to an informal patrol of E-6s and E-7s asking crew found within the VN area, what they’re doing there.

TUESDAY, 15 AUGUST [1978]—Lots happened [in] the last five days, if I can remember half of it. I’ve got a good feeling this’ll be more than a one-stamp letter.

First of all, the “Hammond 77,” as they came to be called, left the ship, while we were in Pattaya Beach, [Thailand,] yesterday at 1400. They’ll go (or have gone) to Bangkok to the U.S. Embassy. They’ll go to a nearby U.N. refugee camp temporarily, while the paperwork on them is done. When it is done, about six plus/minus two weeks from now, they’ll go to the USA.

Okay, let’s backtrack. Before we pulled into Thailand, rumors were going around that the refugees would be palmed off to Thailand or a U.N. refugee camp there. (Only thing is, Thailand has many more [refugees] than it can handle. As for the U.N. camp, it’s supposedly very poorly administered and very overcrowded.)…

When we came in Friday, a Lieutenant Colonel, USMC from the U.S. Embassy [in Bangkok] came aboard. He and the captain talked for a while, then they went to the back to brief the VNs on their fate. I was fooling around with the safety shop, and so happened to be there when the announcement was made. A small group gathered around, those who were fluent in English. The captain told them that they were going to the U.S. They cheered and applauded. The captain then gave more details, but meanwhile the core was telling those around them the good news. Soon there came a second round of applause from the rest of the VNs. There were a lot of moist eyes in that room. Two of them were mine.

Later that day, on the beach, I got a chance to talk to the Lt. Col. I asked him what kind of press coverage we had gotten. (I had assumed that when the Pentagon had found out what we’d done, a spokesman there had made a press statement.) I was surprised to hear that there had been no news, and no press agencies knew what we’d done. He said that to go from the ship to the U.S. Embassy, the refugees have to get the Thai government’s permission to “enter” the country. If the Thai government took a long time on this, and if we had made public the refugees’ presence on our ship, and hence the number of days the government here made them “cool their heels,” it would greatly embarrass the Thai government. According to the Lt. Col., the U.S. is engaged in “delicate negotiations” with the Thai government to get them to accept more refugees. Thailand feels it’s already taken more than its fair share and more than it can afford to take, while the USA, responsible for this whole sorry mess, has not done enough. With things like that, we don’t want to antagonize the Thais in any way. So the plan was not to publicize the thing until the [Thai] government had given its okay. That, as I said, happened Monday (yesterday). However, the press services (AP, UPI, Time) managed to snoop it out last Saturday.

So the refugees stayed on board, while we [of the Hammond crew] hit the beach. They [refugees] were given more freedom. They were allowed on the [helicopter] flight deck, to get fresh air and look at the beach, anytime they wished. We still ate in the mess hall at different times (creating twice as much work for the mess cooks) but by Friday they were allowed to watch the movie with the crew. Indeed the rule against fraternization was, if not formally dropped, informally unenforced. That’s because there were no problems with them. They not only cleaned up after themselves, they even did their own laundry on a modest scale (even though we were willing and able to do it for them). I thought they were cool people. (One time, it was while we were still out at sea, [and it was late enough at night that the rest of the Vietnamese were asleep,] when nobody was looking, I slipped a five-dollar bill under the pillow of a seventy-year-old lady. I couldn’t speak Vietnamese, and she couldn’t speak English [so neither of us spoke], but I could tell [from her eyes that] she was moved. I did it because nobody [at that time] knew what would happen next, but anyone that old who took such risks for freedom deserved something.) [And also I gave her the five dollars because, though she was Asian, I saw a resemblance to my grandmother Mary Sadler. The moment in which I gave her the money was intense—her eyes were watching me closely as I turned to her, took out my wallet and removed the bill, and slid it under her pillow; and my eyes never looked at my hand, once I had selected the five-dollar note, but looked only at her face. The moment was quiet, the only sounds being the breathing and snoring of sleeping Vietnamese, plus the sounds that the ship itself made; and it was dark, with the only light coming from the electrical-parts storage/16mm movie storage room behind me.]

[Next morning, when I went back to the safety shop and the Vietnamese sleeping area, the English-speaking Vietnamese made a fuss over me and my “generous” act. Apparently I had given my gift to one person, but all 77 felt validated by my deed. While I always like to be liked, when I gave the old woman that money, it had never occurred to me that she would tell anyone else about it.]

[Correction May 2006—According to an e-mail I received from James Auer, the old woman to whom I gave the five dollars was not seventy years old, but 97; she lived to be 105.]

[Additional comments below, added January 2007: The expression “You go, girl!” was not coined until decades after this 1978 incident. But it was how I felt toward the old woman. Spoken communication between us being impossible, I came up with a nonverbal way of communicating that I was impressed with her bravery.

I didn’t, and don’t, know anything about Vietnamese culture. But it’s a safe bet that trying to gift money to a young Vietnamese woman stranger, especially when done by a young American man in the 1960s or 1970s, would have been a vile insult. But this woman was old enough that I was sure that no insult would be taken.

And everywhere in the world, nothing says “I like what you did” like handing over unexpected cash.]

[Continuing my 1978 letter:] I was on the beach Sunday and Monday, so I don’t know much except what I was told afterward. At 1400 on Monday they [the Vietnamese] left the ship for the US of A, via the refugee camp in Bangkok. Before they left, there was a small ceremony in which each refugee was given an ID card making them an honorary crew member of Francis Hammond. In return, the spokesman for the group, the owner of the first boat and a Lt. Commander in the old regime’s navy, gave a short speech. He thanked the crew for their many acts of kindness and said that for the refugees, their “lives began again on August ninth.”

After we left Pattaya this morning, the captain said he was very proud of our conduct. Interesting, because we might do it again: “It is entirely possible,” he said, “we might encounter refugees on our way to Taiwan.” So, we shall see. Already, the commendations from the big brass are coming in (which always makes our captain look good). One commented that in terms of age range, and sheer numbers, this has been the largest refugee rescue by any USN ship in many months.

[We didn’t encounter any more boat people during that trip. A month or so after that, the ship went into overhaul. In December 1978 I left the Hammond for Christmas leave followed by an assignment in San Diego.]

=====

I think it is hypocritical that the husband of a Slovenian immigrant, and the grandson of a German immigrant, rants and raves about how bad the foreigners are who want to come to our country. Donald Trump’s rantings on this subject, and his many racist dog-whistles, offend me.

On the other hand, never have I been more proud of my country, my Navy, and my ship and its captain (Cmr. James E. Auer) than during the incident I’ve described.

My Fanfics on FFN and AO3

I’ve taken a break from writing my own stories, and publishing other people’s stories, to put up two fan-fictions on FFN (fanfiction.net) and AO3 (archiveofourown.org).

The “Buffy”/“Angel” crossover story, I originally wrote in 2001. The Hunger Games alternate-universe story is one I am writing now.

Here are their blurbs, and links—

 
CORDY’S BACK! (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV show + “Angel” TV show; 1 chapter; complete; originally written in 2001)

PREVIOUSLY ON “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER”: In the third season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Scooby Gang charter member Xander started a hot romance with Cordelia, the sexiest and most popular girl at Sunnydale High School. In the beginning of the show’s fourth season, Cordelia had moved to L.A. to become an actress, and Xander was seduced by Anya, an ex-demon who was hot for Xander’s body. But Anya, back in her demon days, granted the vengeance wishes of scorned women against their unfaithful men.

Fourth season “BtVS,” first season “Angel”: How will Anya act if Xander is seriously tempted to stray with former girlfriend Cordelia Chase? How will Cordelia act if she discovers that Xander has grown up, both emotionally and physically? And how will Xander act if two women want him?

FFN link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12786170/1/Cordy-s-Back

AO3 link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/13257942

 
THE BAKER AND THE HEALER (The Hunger Games trilogy; 8 chapters so far; in progress)

AU in which Primrose Everdeen goes into the 74th Hunger Games because Katniss Everdeen is too sick to attend the Reaping. The story will sometimes not play out like you expect. Eventual ’ships will be Katniss/Peeta, Haymitch/Effie, and (a little bit of) Gale/Madge.

FFN link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12765090/1/The-Baker-and-the-Healer

AO3 link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/13258191

 
UPDATE May 26, 2018: The Baker and the Healer is complete, at 38 chapters. If you click on the AO3 (archiveofourown) link, you can download the entire story to read offline.

Monica Lewinsky, I Invite You to Join Mensa

© 1999 Thomas H. Richardson—all rights reserved

MONICA LEWINSKY—I invite you to join Mensa. I’m sure you qualify. Tom Richardson, [my city and state].

—my ad in the May 1999 Mensa Bulletin

I think Monica Lewinsky made major mistakes. No surprise. I also think she’s brainy. Big surprise. And I’m impressed with her. Nationwide shock. Meanwhile, Mensa is the best thing ever to happen to me and, when I can, I urge people to join. I also think Monica has been punished more than enough. I put all these facts together, then, in the May 1999 Mensa Bulletin, I invited Monica to join Mensa.

Monica loved not wisely, but too well. As Clinton said, she’s “basically a good girl. She’s a good young woman with a good heart and a good mind.” Between what she’s suffered (from Judge Starr, Bill Clinton, Republican lawmakers, the press, and late-night comedians), Monica has more than atoned for her sins. She deserves censure, not social impeachment; let’s let her rejoin the community.

And Monica, I know fascinating people for you to meet.

Mensa is an international society of people in the top 2 percent of the population by intelligence, which works out to about 132 I.Q. (Genius is 150.) I’ve belonged to Mensa since 1976, and am a lifetime member. I enjoy Mensa meetings because they’re a sure place to flirt, network, tell strange jokes, and learn fun facts. Before Monica, I’ve urged four people to join Mensa; three of them did.

So why am I on Monica’s side? In 1998 I bought the Starr Report the day it came out in paperback, and I bought the September 22 Appendices the day they came out. After wading through those thousands of pages, two things happened that I hadn’t expected: I became impressed with Monica, and I felt great sympathy for her.

So what’s so impressive about Monica?


  • She gave Clinton tons of gifts. He earned seven times what she did, besides free room and board, plus he received much better gifts than hers from heads of state. Yet Monica was always giving Clinton gifts. Her generosity moved me.

  • At the Ritz-Carlton, Starr’s gang threatened her with twenty-seven years in prison if she didn’t cooperate, she was denied a chance to talk with her lawyer, and (for many hours) she was denied a chance to talk with her mother. Yet she still refused to entrap Betty Currie, Vernon Jordan, and the president.

  • Later, when Starr’s minions forced her to give truthful and complete testimony, that’s what she gave them, though it was her own words that have trashed her reputation. Likewise, after Starr decreed that she couldn’t talk to news people without his permission, she obediently kept silent, even while the Office of the Independent Counsel was leaking like a sieve.

  • The Appendices tell us that she’s outgoing, and makes friends easily. One of Starr’s grand jurors called her “vibrant.”

  • She showed initiative and leadership in organizing the interns’ tribute to Clinton on National Boss Day.

  • And on page 3122 (page 192h in Andrew Morton’s book), smiling in her white suit, Monica is one stylish babe.

And she’s smart.


  • It was her idea to box up Clinton’s gifts to her and to pass them to Betty Currie to hold. I don’t know whether this was legal, but it was clever problem-solving.

  • Monica wrote the “Talking Points” by herself.

  • When I read the parts of the Appendices that were Monica’s own words, I found vocabulary I didn’t expect, and she expressed ideas I didn’t expect.

  • When I read page 3091 of the Appendices, I learned that Monica was Salutorian of her high school, with a 3.84 average.

  • She killed the House Managers in her videotape deposition.

(Note: just because Monica acted foolishly, doesn’t mean she isn’t smart. I’ve watched Mensa member do dumb things, and I’ve done really dumb things myself. No, I will not cite examples.)

Why I feel sympathetic for Monica is obvious.


  • Her questioners in Room 1012 behaved like KGB interrogators in Stalin’s USSR.

  • She was robbed of all her privacy. Judge Starr’s goons pressed Monica for every last pornographic detail of every encounter with the president; then Starr and Henry Hyde put those details into the public record. Those two men stripped Monica of every privacy, not only the sexual: Her secretly recorded conversations with Linda Tripp, Monica’s e-mail to friends, and anything she wrote to Clinton, also were printed. Not just the relevant parts were printed, but every single word. Her job evaluations and her résumés also were printed. You even can use the Appendices to forge a credit-card application in Monica’s name.

  • Starr forced Monica’s own mother to give grand-jury testimony against her.

  • Judge Starr’s gag order on Monica meant that she couldn’t publicly reply when the media reported the most ridiculous slanders against her. By the time her gag order was lifted, in March 1999, public opinion was set in stone.

  • She fell in love with Bill Clinton. Clinton is charismatic, which we forget when we get him for only ten seconds a day in a sound bite. And whom was our charming president being charming to? The only person excluded from Tori Spelling’s birthday party. Inevitably Monica fell in love, as this passage shows: “Sometimes I miss the joy that I felt as I walked toward the Oval Office after I got ‘the call.’ My pulse would race, my face would be flushed…I couldn’t wait for that first moment of a delicious kiss from my Handsome.” (This quote is from page 262 of Morton’s book.) Similar quotes, both in Morton’s writings and in Starr’s, enabled me to connect with Monica: I couldn’t sympathize with a slut, but I too have been unwisely in love.

But I don’t venerate Monica as a saint. The thong-underwear incident is bizarre, as is fellating the president within minutes of first kissing him. She had sexual contact with a married man, then she lied about the relationship in her sworn affidavit. Her overreaction after her interview by Matt Lauer disappointed me. But again: Whatever misdeeds Monica has committed, she has already been overpunished for.

The tabloids and the public see Monica as a threat to wives nationwide; they figure anyone who put the moves on Bill Clinton before he moved on her must be a first-class hussy. Not so. If Monica truly leaped from bed each morning scheming “Whose marriage can I destroy today?”, she wouldn’t have gone after Clinton. He’s no challenge! Instead, she’d have chased Al Gore.

I’ve never met Monica, nor do I know anyone who knows her.

In 1974 I bought and read the New York Times transcripts of the Nixon tapes. Likewise, I bought the Starr books to see if Judge Starr could make a case against the president. But admittedly I didn’t read the Starr Report only for that reason; I don’t buy Playboy just for the articles, either.

The name Mensa comes from the Latin word for table; Mensa was founded in the U.K. in the Forties as a round-table society where every member, regardless of his views, was welcome. Mensa, by definition, has no opinions; American Mensa, Ltd. neither endorses nor opposes my invitation to Monica.

I am a political independent. I was a card-carrying Republican in 1984 and 1985, but I also have voted twice for Clinton. Clinton is not a bad president, but I now have no use for him personally.

Monica, come join Mensa. I look forward to shaking your hand at the annual convention sometime.

Short Story: The Funeral of Bill Clinton

© 2000 Thomas H. Richardson—all rights reserved

Though tweaked through January 2000, this story was written February 1999, before Hillary-for-NY-Senate rumors, the article about Chelsea in People, Monica’s Barbara Walters interview, Monica’s Story, Juanita Broaddick, George Stephanopoulos’s All Too Human, Kosovo, Monica’s handbag-selling website, and Judge Susan Webber Wright ruling Bill Clinton to be in civil contempt—

—not to mention, this was written before Monica’s Jenny Craig fiasco, Monica’s hosting of the reality-TV show “Mister Personality,” Monica earning a Master’s degree in social psychology, Monica’s 2014 essay in Vanity Fair, Hillary serving one term as U.S. senator from New York, Hillary serving for four years as President Obama’s Secretary of State, and Hillary going zero-for-two at running for president.

Characters of this story are either made up (a few folks), or used fictitiously (most characters). But only a lawyer needs to be told this.

The Funeral of Bill Clinton

by Tom H. Richardson

On a spring day in 2023

Chelsea Clinton O’Rourke, M.D. stood smiling in the entranceway of her father’s Little Rock home. “Thank you for coming, Mister Jordan,” she said to the old black man, as she shook his hand.

“I’m still proud to call Bill my friend,” Vernon Jordan replied. “Unlike”—he glanced at Hillary—“some people.”

It was hard to look fierce when needing a cane, but Hillary achieved it. “Don’t you fault me for—”

“I fault your timing. Filing divorce papers the day after he left office?”

“I was a saint to wait that long.”

Chelsea stepped forward between them as the front door opened, then shut. “Mother? Mister Jordan? Not now.”

“I agree,” Jordan replied. “Chelsea, I haven’t paid my respects yet. Would you please direct me to the mortuary?”

“Or I can tell you, Mister Jordan,” said a woman’s voice from behind. “I’ve just come from viewing him.” Chelsea turned, and saw her.

How dare you, Chelsea thought. Leave his house this instant! Chelsea intended to say as much, and forcefully—until she imagined the tabloid stories. So instead she smiled as Hillary had taught her, and Chelsea said sweetly, “If you wish, Mrs. Rosenberg, your offer is kind.”

“Please, call me Monica.”

While the former intern was giving directions to Vernon Jordan, Chelsea studied her. Monica’s gestures were animated, theatrical. The fog-gray eyes now were behind glasses, and that thick, black hair now was honey-blond. Monica’s figure still was buxom, but now it also was slim and toned. For a woman of fifty, this took work.

“…first viewing room on the left, can’t miss it. That’s a sharp tie, by the way. Good to see you’re looking well.”

Jordan thanked Monica, said goodbye to Chelsea, nodded to Hillary, and then turned and shuffled out the front door.

Monica stepped up to Chelsea, both hands out. “So we finally meet. Please, my condolences; this is a sympathy gift.”

For twenty-five years, Chelsea had imagined this moment, trying to decide what she’d say and do. But when the moment came, Chelsea shook Monica’s right hand, took the gift-wrapped box from Monica’s left hand, made herself smile, and said, “Thank you for coming.” Chelsea laid the gift on the hall table nearby.

Then Monica turned and put out her right hand again. “Ms. Rodham, my condolences. I know you miss him.”

Hillary turned and looked at Chelsea, and that look said You’re letting her stay? When Chelsea made no move to banish Monica, Hillary turned back and snapped, “I mourn many things today.” Hillary’s voice was cold, and she ignored Monica’s hand.

Monica turned back to Chelsea with a somber expression. “May I talk to you for a minute?” Monica glanced at Hillary. “Alone.”

Chelsea led Monica into the study. “Don’t expect my mother to—”

Monica shook her head. “It’s not her I want to talk about. It’s you.”

Me?

“The sympathy gift is also a peace offering. I ask your forgiveness.”

****

Chelsea blinked. “It’s my mother you should ask forgiveness from.”

“Never. But I’m asking you.”

Chelsea crossed her arms. “Out of the question.”

“Please. I’d hoped that after all the years—”

“No. I’m being civil to you, but you brought me a year of hell. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have mourners to greet.”

Chelsea strode out of the room into the side hallway—and flattened her mother. As Chelsea was picking herself up, and helping Hillary to stand, she asked, “What are you doing here?”

Hillary glared at Monica, then her face smoothed into a concerned smile. “Making sure she doesn’t cause us new problems.”

Monica’s smile was catty. “You had twenty years’ head start with Bill. If you’d been a better wife, I wouldn’t have made headway. So to speak.”

Chelsea raised her hands like a boxing referee. “Mother, please act your age. Monica, this doesn’t help you.”

Hillary gave Chelsea that disappointed look. “Dear, that’s no way to speak to your mother.”

****

Five minutes later, Chelsea was back at the entranceway, learning about George Stephanopoulos’s grandson. Hillary was in the kitchen, being charming to everyone. Monica was in the living room, smiling and trying to converse: “Hello, I’m Monica Rosenberg, what’s your name?/How do you do?/How did you know President Clinton?” Nobody spoke to her even a minute.

When George and his wife headed to the kitchen was when Will and Eleanor O’Rourke joined Chelsea. Will was staring at Monica. “Say, Mom, is that—?”

“Yes. Monica Lewinsky Rosenberg.”

Will’s eyes were round. “And Grandma hasn’t killed her yet?”

“The day is young.”

“Wow. She’s braver than I’d be.”

Chelsea frowned. “Maybe she’s just foolish.”

Eleanor studied her mother. “You hate Monica, don’t you?”

“Not hate, no. But even now I have nightmares, thanks to her. And thanks to the Dear Departed.”

Will was looking into the living room again. “Nobody’s talking to her. Do you think I should?”

“Yeah, I know why you want to talk to her,” Eleanor teased. (Will was sixteen.)

“Yeah, just maybe you do,” Will said. “Maybe you know just what bad women like her do.” (Eleanor was nineteen and in college.)

Eleanor pursed her lips. “That’s not funny, Will.”

****

Will did walk into the living room, but couldn’t bring himself to speak more than a few words to Monica; Eleanor, meanwhile, had gone upstairs. Chelsea turned to walk to the kitchen, but an unfamiliar blot of blue caught her eye. She looked down; Monica’s blue-wrapped gift sat forgotten on the hallway table.

A minute later, Monica was in the hallway, looking at the photographs on the walls. She apparently had given up trying to chat up the other mourners. Now Chelsea walked up to her, smiled, and said, “The pearl necklace is lovely. Thank you.”

“Aren’t employee discounts wonderful? But you’re not wearing it.”

“Well, I didn’t think it appropriate for a funeral.”

Monica eyed her. “No, of course not.”

There was an awkward pause. Monica tapped the nearest photo. “I remember this picture. David and I visited here five years ago.”

“Where’s David now? You’re having a rough time alone here.”

“He’s on a business trip. And yes, I believe him.”

“I didn’t say you shouldn’t.”

Hillary’s voice came from the kitchen: “Thanks, Tipper. Let me see if Chelsea needs anything.” Hillary appeared in the doorway. “What?

Chelsea didn’t know her mother could move that fast anymore. Only an eyeblink later, it seemed, Hillary was in Monica’s face. Hillary glared and whispered, “Quit stalking my daughter!”

“Mother—”

Hillary spotted the box in Chelsea’s hand. Another angry whisper, this time to Chelsea: “What’s this?”

“It’s a pearl necklace she gave me. Mother—”

Hillary gave Monica another glare. “It’s bad enough you ensnared Bill—now you want to sink your hooks into Chelsea? Leave her alone!”

Chelsea grabbed Hillary’s arm. “Listen, Monica didn’t come talking to me, I started talking to her.”

Hillary looked like she’d been slapped. “You have relatives here; you have presidents here. Michael’s sister and his parents are here. The whole Gore family is here. There are a dozen former Cabinet members here; ditto retired Secret Service. Even Katie is here, your babysitter from Bill’s governor days. Why talk to this kneepad Jezebel?

“Courtesy.”

Monica glared at Hillary. “You need to hear something.”

“Not from you.”

“I loved Bill, and I believed him my sexual soulmate. Now if you’d given him—”

“Um, Mom?” It was a worried Will standing at the bottom of the stairs. “I know now isn’t a good time—”

Chelsea sighed. “Boy, is that true. What’s wrong?”

“Eleanor was on the phone in Grandpa’s bedroom, and now she’s crying.”

“Thanks, I’ll handle it.” Chelsea turned back to eye the combatants. “I say this again: Calm down. Please. I feel both your pain, okay?”

Hillary eyed Chelsea back. “Dear, whatever pain Monica suffers is not our worry.”

Chelsea walked to the entranceway and turned to climb the stairs. That’s when she noticed a silent throng standing in the kitchen doorway, and a bigger silent throng in the living-room doorway. She pasted on a smile as she yelled, “Show’s over, folks.” For now, she thought.

****

“It’s okay, Ellie honey,” Chelsea cooed. She was rocking back and forth on the bed, holding sobbing Eleanor.

“Okay? Hardly!” Eleanor wailed. “Mark dropped me for Amy!”

“My hurt, hurt baby.”

“Fine, she’s prettier—shit happens. But I really loved Mark.”

“I know you did, honey.”

Eleanor leaned back, and her wet, red eyes held Chelsea’s eyes. “You don’t know all the story. I loved him Monica-style—I was not a good girl. And then Amy gets him?”

Chelsea went cold inside, but tried to joke: “Then it’s good for him I’ve never seen him. An angry mother wielding a scalpel is dangerous.”

Eleanor started sobbing again, and Chelsea started hugging and rocking her again. But with her expression safely blocked from Eleanor’s view, Chelsea’s face was stunned.

****

Five minutes later, Eleanor was upstairs repairing her makeup, and Chelsea was in the living room, receiving a hug from Michael.

Michael O’Rourke smiled as he let Chelsea go. “What’s this for?”

“I miss Dad so. Mother and Monica together is a bomb waiting to go off. Meanwhile, Eleanor just lost her boyfriend, and she said something else that upset me. Take your pick.”

Michael nuzzled Chelsea’s curly hair. “I pick you.”

“Mm, I love you, too.”

Chelsea looked over at Monica, who was back in the living room, studying its photographs and being shunned again. Chelsea then glanced at Hillary in the dining room, just in time to see Hillary also look at Monica.

Chelsea touched Michael’s arm. “Hon, would you play host to Monica? Whatever you do, keep her away from Mother.”

Michael kissed Chelsea, then headed toward Monica, as Chelsea went for her mother. Chelsea found Hillary speaking to later First Couple Robert and Holly Hawkins. “…No, she certainly has the right to attend his funeral if she still cares for him. Anyway, it’s been twenty-five years.”

Chelsea smiled at everyone. “Pardon. Mother, I thought you should know: I asked Michael to talk to Monica. Didn’t want you to jump to conclusions.”

“Certainly, I understand.” Hillary turned to the Hawkinses and smiled. “Can you excuse us a moment? I need to ask Chelsea about funeral arrangements.”

Seconds later, Hillary and Chelsea were back in the hallway. Chelsea looked at Hillary in puzzlement. “Dad’s funeral is right on track.”

Hillary was again whispering: “Dear, you’re spending too much time with Monica Lewinsky. Now you have Michael wasting time, too?”

Chelsea certainly couldn’t tell her mother the truth: Michael is chaperoning to prevent a Monica-Hillary thermonuclear war. So Chelsea said instead, “I’m being kind to a fellow mourner.”

“Kindness is fine, dear, but not to her. I’m most disappointed in you.”

****

From the hallway, Hillary went back to the dining room, but Chelsea walked with her only as far as the kitchen. Chelsea and the Gore daughters were exchanging news when Eleanor walked in. Chelsea smiled; “Feeling better?”

“Yeah, thanks. A lawyer’s at the door; he’s got Grandpa’s will.”

Chelsea stood at the front door a minute later, as the probate attorney was saying his goodbyes. Absently Chelsea glanced into the living room; she didn’t spot Michael and Monica.

When the attorney left, Chelsea started leafing through the will. She’d already been told her father’s funeral wishes, and that she was executrix and main heir. Now she read about copyrights and royalties, bequests, and disposition of personal property. She flipped the page, read the last paragraphs there—

—and muttered, “Thanks a lot, Dad.” She wondered what Monica would say when she found out.

What Mother would say, when she found out, Chelsea didn’t need to wonder at all.

****

Chelsea then went upstairs, to hide the will under the mattress in her father’s bedroom. Nobody was seeing this bombshell but the heirs and the court. The will hidden, she came downstairs to find Monica.

Monica and Michael, sure enough, weren’t in the living room or dining room. Or the kitchen. Next stop: the study.

They didn’t hear her coming. Chelsea was about to walk though the open door when she heard Michael laugh. That laugh sounded…sexy?

Monica’s voice was sexy, too: “I do know what your life is like. Some of my closest friends have been attorneys.”

Unnoticed, Chelsea peeked in. She saw Michael smoothing his hair and smiling at Monica. “But you can’t count Bill,” Michael said. “Bill wasn’t practicing when you met him.”

“He wasn’t practicing law. Tell me, under that suit, are you wearing legal briefs?

It wasn’t only Monica’s words that were provocative, but also that saucy, sidelong glance; the inviting smile; and the head toss. All she lacked was the beret.

Now Michael growled, “Legal briefs? Might be. And right now, I’m considering a motion to appeal.”

Chelsea got noticed quickly when she slammed shut the door. “Oh, are you, Michael?”

“Chelsea, honey, it’s not—we were flirting—it was harmless banter.”

Monica nodded. “He did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

Chelsea stared them both down. “Michael, I’ll talk to you later.” She jerked open the door and nose-gestured him out. With a nervous expression, he left.

Chelsea shut the door, eyed also-nervous Monica, and thought about what to say. Chelsea noted that the bound manuscript for Successes and Mistakes, her father’s posthumous autobiography, lay open on the desk. No wonder Michael was horny.

Monica broke the silence: “Would you believe me if I said ‘I’m sorry’?”

“Again, you mean?”

“Yes.”

“I came here to tell you to stay for the reading of the will—you’re mentioned. But meanwhile, keep far away from me and mine.”

****

When Chelsea stalked out of the study, Michael was waiting in the side hallway.

“Chelsea, honey, nothing happened.”

“I know. I stopped it.”

“And nothing would have happened.”

“I know that, too.”

“You do? Then why—?”

“Her reputation. From now on, you’ll wonder what you missed. Please leave me alone.”

****

“…Yes, it was a lovely service, wasn’t it? Thank you for coming.” Chelsea shut the front door. Now inside were only the six of them: her, Michael (to whom she was still not speaking), their kids—and Hillary and Monica.

Hillary turned to Monica, and the smile was perfect. “Mrs. Rosenberg, it was an experience we’ll never forget. Have a good trip.”

“Mother, Monica stays until the will is read. Unfortunately.”

Hillary blinked, then she scowled. “You’re a dog, Bill, even in death.” Meanwhile, Monica was searching Chelsea’s face, and looking dismayed at what she saw.

Chelsea brought down the will from upstairs, and directed everyone to the dining-room table for the reading. As she was walking that way, Will joined her. He looked worried.

“Mom, I just did the math, and Grandma and Monica are about to get ugly. It’ll be like a steel-cage death match when they talk.”

“They’ve hardly been sweet up till now.”

“Sparring practice. Look, us four O’Rourkes, we won’t blab to The National Enquirer, follow me? And no reporters are around. We got Grandma and Monica in the same room, and they don’t need to hold back anymore.”

“No need to worry. As Mother pointed out, the hussy’s problems are not our worry. And the slut was totally wrong in what she did, so how can she score points against Mother?”

“Maybe Monica won’t, but she’ll try. Those two are about to talk major mean.”

****

Seconds later, the six were sitting at the dining-room table. Chelsea was reading aloud, “ ‘…bequeath to Chelsea, except as described below. To my granddaughter, Eleanor Rosalynn O’Rourke, I bequeath five thousand dollars, and my saxophone. To my grandson, William Jefferson O’Rourke, I bequeath five thousand dollars, and my golf clubs.’ ”

Chelsea took a deep breath, braced herself, then resumed reading—

To my ex-wife, Hillary Rodham, I apologize again for the pain I caused you because of Debbie G., Sue Lynn, Sharon, Gennifer, Debbie T., the Razorback Cheerleaders, Debbie A., Paula, Bambi, Debbie F., Sherry, Hillari, “Platinum Peaks,” Monica, Angela, the redhead twins, Debbie J., and Liz. Besides the apology, I bequeath you one hundred dollars, and the bronze presidential-seal bookends.

To Monica Samille Lewinsky Rosenberg, I leave you an apology also. In 1996, I let you believe you were coming back to the White House when I knew otherwise, and in that I was deficient in courage, and I was wrong. In 1998 I made public statements that slighted our relationship for the sake of political expediency, statements which caused you and your family great pain. Again I was deficient in courage, and wrong. As I said years ago, you are a good woman with a good heart and a good mind. Thus I bequeath you also one hundred dollars, and the walnut-and-silver presidential-seal pen-and-pencil set.

Chelsea looked up. “ ‘In witness thereof,’ et cetera.” She was refolding the will when—

Hillary slapped the table. “He screwed me again. His will puts me the same as the bimbo!

Bimbo?” Monica said. She added archly, “I was the salutatorian of my high-school class, with a 3.84 average. I suspect I qualify for Mensa.”

So? Bill didn’t want you for your mind, but for your don’t-mind. You don’t mind oral sex, and you don’t mind phone sex. Apparently you don’t mind boffing Bill, but you never got a chance.”

“Sorry, no points. Right here in Little Rock, January 22, 2001, I consoled Bill after you’d left him. He was worried his technique had gone stale.” Monica’s eyebrow-flash was a smirk. “But I found him still the Leader of the Free World.”

“Yet he didn’t marry you, did he? It took a village of Amazons to satisfy him sexually, but I’m the only woman he married.”

“He was probably scared I’d turn out like you.”

“So eventually you married someone else.” Hillary leaned forward to better stare down Monica. “But your marriage has no joy. You’re terrified that David is cheating on you, right? Because what can you say if he does? Meanwhile, your marriage has money problems, because you work as only a jewelry-store saleswoman.”

“All true, so what?” Monica lifted her chin. “I don’t regret what I did. Between November ’95 and April ’96, I had the best life in the world, and I was in love. And for one beautiful moment, I knew ’Handsome’ loved me. Did he ever love you?

I surely regret what you did! Will Bill be remembered for reforming the Democrats’ sacred cow, Welfare? No, he won’t. Or for brokering a peace accord between Arafat and Netanyahu? How about for being re-elected in ’96, when the pundits wrote him off in ’94? Will Bill be remembered for braving the health-care Establishment? No. How about the Family Leave Act, nurturing a dream economy, balancing the budget? Ha. Instead, his write-up will say only, ‘The House impeached him because his girlfriend mistreated cigars.’ ”

“It was only one cigar, one time. Were you that careless of details at your law firm? Details, say, of the Whitewater case? My life was ruined because I was dragged into your criminal investigation.”

Hillary swatted that away. “And you know what angers me most? Bill didn’t lure you in, you started the affair! Later, you copied my schedule so you knew when I was out of town—I feel so wronged by you!”

“Why? You wanted his legacy, I needed his arms.”

“Still, Washington had plenty of single men, you didn’t need Bill. What kind of woman fools around with another woman’s husband?

That’s when Eleanor took a breath. “Sometimes it’s a decent woman, Grandma. Someone’s daughter or granddaughter.”

The entire family turned to stare at her. Chelsea stammered, “Honey, you can’t mean—is this why we never met Mark?”

Eleanor was staring at the table. “He was married to Amy the whole time. Sorry, everyone.”

Monica’s voice was gentle: “Why did you do it?”

Eleanor looked at her. “Because he was so sexy. He wasn’t like the boys my age, who didn’t know how to act around women. Amy loved him enough to marry him, which praises his personality, right?”

Monica nodded; everyone else looked as shocked as Chelsea felt.

Eleanor continued, “And Mark wasn’t desperate to get into my pants. This made him sexier.”

Monica nodded. “Yes.”

“Meanwhile, he was grateful for what I did. I dressed up for him, talked dirty to him over the phone, I did sex things for him. Twice we made love in a park. He’d always act so grateful, like I’d cooked him a twelve-course dinner. The single guys would just grunt, ‘Do it again, woman.’ ”

Monica nodded again. “Very familiar.”

“We both relished the fantasy of me as the wicked city woman. I liked feeling dangerous, it became a drug.”

Chelsea leaned forward and looked at Eleanor. “So what now?”

Eleanor looked at Hillary, then Chelsea, then Monica. Then Eleanor sighed. “Looks like I move out, take a job in a jewelry store, and hope some other man will marry me someday.”

Chelsea’s heart ached. “No, you’re my child.”

Then Eleanor’s mention of jewelry gave Chelsea an idea. Chelsea opened her purse, pulled out the case with the pearl necklace in it, and handed the box to puzzled Eleanor. Eleanor gasped when she opened it.

Chelsea turned to look into Monica’s eyes. “I’m showing my forgiveness.”

THE END

The Writer’s-Block Problem: FIXED!

I’m an indie-writer and indie-publisher; I publish my stuff to Amazon, Smashwords, and Kobo Books. I’m especially proud of my novel(la)s Cinderella, Zombie Queen and The Dessert Games.

I know about writer’s block. I have several times written halfway into a story—and suddenly I had no idea how to get from where I was then, to the ending that I wanted to write. That’s a scary place to be in; I’ve thought, Have I WASTED all the time I’ve spent so far, writing this story?

What I have found that works, when I get writer’s block, is to calm down and to abandon all hope that the entire (rest of) the plot will appear in my brain in one grand inspiration. Instead, I grab paper and I write down every idea that can get me even a tiny part of the way from Point Middle to Point End. An idea might be only one scene or plot point, but I write it down anyway. I don’t judge with thoughts like That’s a stupid idea. Instead, I write every little idea down.

Nor do I put pressure on myself, of I’ve thought up this little story idea, now I have to figure out how to use it. I don’t ever put myself in a position, when I’m brainstorming, of thinking I should do X, Y, and Z. At this point in the writing process, the word “should” is something I never say. I stay relaxed throughout, avoiding all thoughts that make me feel pressured, while I stay calmly confident that by writing down dozens of little ideas, I will sooner or later have a plot-plan.

Notice a trend here? Part of my trick to fixing writer’s block is to not panic, but instead to bring my mind to a Zen-like calm. How can I get so calm? By absolutely believing that Sooner or later, I’ll figure this out.

So far, this whole approach has worked every time: Every time I have calmed down and written down any and all little story ideas while trying to write a story, I’ve completed the story. (Then, once I’ve completed the first draft, I’ve torn up my pages of disjointed story ideas—tearing up the story-idea sheets is very satisfying.)

My process works, but it is not efficient. Coming up with a story outline in this way, takes me somewhere between forty and eighty hours of just sitting and thinking. Also inefficient: When I type “THE END” and tear up my idea-sheets, there will always be ideas written down that I never used. But if I have finished the first draft of the book, who cares?

I write down all my story ideas in one place. Rather than write ideas on sticky-notes and napkins and the backs of envelopes, I write everything into a college-lined, single-subject, spiral notebook. (If I do write down an idea onto a napkin, sooner or later I’ll copy the words on that napkin into my notebook.)

Putting all of my written ideas in one place makes for better organization, yes; but I also write all my ideas in that spiral notebook so I can take the notebook with me when I go to bed. I can’t count the number of times that an idea came to me as I was falling asleep, or in the first minute when I woke up. When this happens, I write my idea into my notebook before I do anything else. Ideas popping into my head when I’m in bed has happened so often that now I keep a pen and an LED flashlight (along with my notebook) by my bed.

There Are Great Zombie Books Out There

An author named Grivante contacted me with an offer for a “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” zombie-book promotion. If I will tell my fans and friends about The Zee Brothers, Zombie Exterminators: Curse of the Zombie Omelet, he will tell his fans and friends about Cinderella, Zombie Queen as part of his all-October #31daysofzombies promotion.

Isn’t this a clever idea? Grivante shows he really has some … BRAINS-S-S.

Anyway, folks, I’m not only going to recommend the book, I’m going to buy it. Because it looks like it’s funny—and I’m a funny guy. (Even my arm-bones are humerus.)

Here’s its sales blurb:

Orgasms, Chocolate & Zombies? Just an average day for Jonah, Judas & JJ.

The Zee Brothers have a strange and dangerous vocation. While some hunt rodents or pests in the dark, Jonah and Judas tackle much larger prey… Zombies. Equipped with a well-loved artillery gun, DeeDee, and a much used and somewhat abused pickup truck called Sasha, the duo clear the night of undead pests, keeping the ever present threat of a Zombie Apocalypse at bay.

When the slap happy pair receives an after hours call for extermination that ends in a gurgle, they head out, guns locked and catch pole loaded. It seems that an incredibly foolish developer built a high cost, gated community atop an old indian Reservation – a Reservation that soon became a graveyard and home to magic much older than the flimsy walled homes that tried to take over. Lost in this sea of new houses, an ancient artifact lay buried till the obnoxious Home Owners Association President disturbed it – and awakened the Zombies from their slumber to retrieve it.

Now it’s up to the Brothers to find it and lay the walking dead to rest. Along the way they meet the woman of their dreams, JJ, her magical and disco imbued dog, Xanadu, a denture wearing Zombie and a High Priest that offers a bit more danger than DeeDee can handle.

Filled with pop culture nods and heroes that just don’t know when to quit, it’s a slap happy, blood filled adventure, as the trio fights off zombies and the brothers fight each other for JJ’s affection.

If you like Ash Vs Evil Dead, Army of Darkness and Scooby Doo, you’ll want to buy this action packed romp and dive into The Zee Brother’s adventures today!

THE ZEE BROTHERS, ZOMBIE EXTERMINATORS: CURSE OF THE ZOMBIE OMELET is available in print, audio, ebook (illustrated), and ebook (text-only). Thezombieexterminators has a Facebook page.

Here’s the link to the illustrated ebook for Curse of the Zombie Omelet: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013M5DXGC/

Other books that are part of the #31daysofzombies promotion and that I am buying:

1) E.E. Isherwood Since The Sirens: Sirens of the Zombie Apocalypse, Book 1
Amazon: https://amazon.com/dp/B018H82ZYU (First of 6)

Life is hard enough at fifteen…

Banished by bad decisions to spend the summer with his great-grandmother, Liam Peters thinks his life is over. After all, Marty Peters is a tough woman to be around. Maybe she wouldn’t be so bad if she’d just take an interest in the modern technology he loves. Sure, she has some insight to her…but the woman is practically “pushing daisies.” Not surprisingly, as tornado sirens announce a city-wide emergency, Liam discovers why that term should be avoided…well…like the plague.

When Grandma Marty tries to send him on his way, refusing to abandon her home, Liam sees his situation in a new light. Something deep inside awakens—and he chafes at the thought of leaving his 104-year-old grandmother to die. Armed with two tiny pistols and an arsenal of knowledge from his overwhelming zombie book collection, Liam realizes he could be the hero and accomplish the impossible: rescue her.

With the interstate gridlocked, opportunist criminals looking to take what they can get, law enforcement desperate to keep the peace, and the military declaring St. Louis a war-zone, Liam and Marty find themselves wrapped up in a world of chaos and panic. But when the zombies begin to overshadow everything else, Liam comes to appreciate why there are no atheists in foxholes.

2) Priscila (sic) Santa Rosa Those Who Remain, Book 1
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MKE5WI4 (First of 3)

Hide your children, lock your doors, and load your guns because zombies are real and they are coming. Danny Terrence knows this better than anyone. He spent months preparing for the inevitable moment the disease would reach his small town. What he didn’t prepare for is the fact that nobody really believes him.

Luckily for him, an old classmate and bully just happens to be the first one bitten. The bad news is that the family with the biggest arsenal of guns just packed up and left town, leaving them defenseless from an oncoming zombie horde. Being a leader isn’t turning out the way Danny imagined.

Yet four other survivors easily have it worse than him. Between a thirteen-year-old girl on a road trip from hell, a family of paranoid hunters having to deal with their feelings for the first time ever, a stubborn doctor butting heads with a cold-hearted sergeant and an amoral British professor carrying the fate of humanity in his hands, Danny has it easy. Unless, of course, they all end up in his town, messing with his already messed up life.

Follow these five people as their paths cross and their lives and hopes are challenged in this thrilling novel. Those Who Remain: Book One is part of a trilogy.

???) Coming out on October 29th is Ambulatory Cadavers: A Regency Zombie Novel by McCallum Morgan. Buy it if you’re a fan of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or (ahem) Cinderella, Zombie Queen.
link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX8TJDL/

Two cousins. One on the verge of a great discovery… and excessive power, wealth, and infamy, the other on the verge of an odious marriage.

Lyra will stop at nothing to achieve her father’s dream of dissolving Parliament into anatomical sludge, and to search out the farthest reaches of science and the arcane arts. That is until her own dreams begin to awaken, jolted by the electric sparkle of an artist’s eyes.

Lacking a strong constitution, Alice can only run from her problems, that is until she collides into the company of a strange young man of questionable occupation and discovers her cousin’s terrible plans.

The dead are about to rise, the Lords are about to fall, and things are about to get creamy.

High society will never be the same again.

$2.99! Two-Ninety-Nine! $2.99!

I just discovered Joe Konrath’s blog, “A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing” (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/). I’ve already spent hours reading it, because it is so fascinating.

After reading so much of his blog, I am convinced that I would make more money by drastically lowering my prices for my novels. So this is what I have done (since I’m a publisher as well as an author).

So Sun Rising In The West and The Dessert Games and Cinderella, Zombie Queen now each have an ebook price of $2.99! Paperback prices are unaffected.

 

Sun Rising In The West: Does Japan Buy California?

SUN RISING IN THE WEST front cover

SUN RISING IN THE WEST—first two chapters are FREE
Amazon paperback
Amazon Kindle Borrow this book “for free” through Kindle Unlimited!

 

The Dessert Games: A Hunger Games Parody

THE DESSERT GAMES front cover

THE DESSERT GAMES—first three chapters are FREE
Amazon paperback
Amazon Kindle
Smashwords—your choice of formats
Kobo

 

Cinderella, Zombie Queen

CINDERELLA, ZOMBIE QUEEN front cover

CINDERELLA, ZOMBIE QUEEN—first five chapters are FREE!
Amazon paperback
Amazon Kindle
Smashwords—your choice of formats
Kobo Books